Canyoneer Steve Ramras Offers Perspective on “127 Hours”

I think the big question in the outdoor community over the upcoming canyoneer misadventure-epic “127 Hours” is, “Of course the masses will buy Hollywood’s take on canyoneering… but can you sell US?” Early reviews and interviews have offered encouraging promise, but I had yet to hear from a serious member of the outdoor community regarding the film’s authenticity and value. Canyon diehard Steve “Ram” Ramras DID get to see a preview screening with the Ralston family, however, and recently offered this opinion piece on the Canyons Group forum. Interestingly, Ram seems to find the film strong enough that real-life canyoneers will actually get more out of the film than the lay person, a strong testament to both the story and its telling. Thanks to Ram for offering thoughts in his usual down-to-earth style.

Poster for the film 127 Hours

The poster is a little over-dramatic and misrepresentative, methinks


I’ll have to admit that the experience and several images impacted so largely, as to still be with me 4 weeks after seeing (“127 Hours”). There is a hand and a Swiss army knife doing a dance early on that had me doing a knowing chuckle. But how do you really display thirst to people fed, watered and comfortable in lounge chair? They succeeded by taking you “inside” the experience. I’ll leave it at that, to let you discover it. And I did gag hard when the urine….you know. Well done! With a gazillion slasher movies having desensitized us to gore and shock methods, how does a directer and an actor make a whole theater of individuals squirm, turn away, run away, gasp, squeeze the blood out of their partners hand and occasionally faint? Please understand. I HATE being manipulated. Being told how to feel. Bristle at sound tracks that take the cheap way around dialogue to tell a story…..but this? This works because it is real. Because its not over done. Because the time is spent to make the character real, his circumstance plausible. If you let it happen, you can become Aron. We spend enough time with him, stuck in the hole and all the things natural and needed by us humans,….. that are withheld,…. food, water, comfort, pain relief, warmth, hope and more……sought and sometimes attained, makes us join with this fellow. I do wonder if those that don’t spend time in the natural world will feel these subtleties as much as I think us outdoor enthusiasts will? I suspect they will just enough to “GET IT.” You will likely get it more. I was pleased to see that many, of what for me, were “over the top” embellishments in the trailer, were part of the dreams and semi lucid experiences of our trapped fellow and not fictional excesses, which I feel would have diminished the story. The trip through Aron’s emotional state, as depicted in the movie worked too. Excellent range imparted and all from a single and static position, in the slot. The stem, then slide into the deep blue pool being the exception, in my opinion (Courtney disagreed with me). This was worse than the trailer implied, in my opinion (Homestead Crater in Midway, Utah I heard is the locale of the pool), but I thought it was the movies only major excess. The pacing of the 3 sections of the movie were important and I liked the balance they choose. Others will feel differently about that, I suspect. I won’t go into it now, as it might give away too much. I left from the movie, at 11 PM, for Utah. Lets just say I had no problem staying awake most of the way to Glenwood Springs that night. I highly recommend the experience. I must thank Aron for having us along. Being able to turn and see him and his family there, his mother often weeping, added greatly to the experience for me. I will also admit that I ran from the intensity of the experience by peeking at others and how they were reacting to the more intense parts. To be honest with myself, this was my avenue of escape, when it became too much for me.



About Nick

Nick Wilkes found ZAC in 1996, working first as an outfitter, then a guide, then as webmaster. An ardent adventure enthusiast, Nick's recent exploits involve laying down roots in Wisconsin, chasing his kids around the house, working as a Madison, WI photographer and growing his Wisconsin climbing business. Connect with Nick on Facebook, Google+, or directly via email.
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One Response to Canyoneer Steve Ramras Offers Perspective on “127 Hours”

  1. avatar Jake M. says:

    There’s another movie coming out summer 2011 called “Gorging”. It’s a documentary that looks pretty interesting from the trailer, but I wonder what the its final impact on the sport will be. The trailer is at: